Angkor Archaegological Park and Snake Liquor

Trip Start Jul 30, 2011
Trip End Aug 17, 2011

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What I did
Angkor Wat Siem Reap
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Banteay Srei Siem Reap
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Bayon Temple Siem Reap
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Ta Prohm Siem Reap
Read my review - 5/5 stars
Terrace of the Elephants Siem Reap
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Sunday, August 7, 2011

    The plan for today was to spend the entire day exploring Angkor Archaeological Park.  Yesterday, I had made arrangements with the tuk-tuk driver who picked me up from the airport to serve as my driver for the day at a reasonable price of $20 for the entire day.  In return, he would take me to Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, The Bayon, Eastern Mebon, Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, and Preah Ko.

    The first stop was of course, Angkor Wat which is the most famous of all the temples.  It was absolutely swamped with tourists despite being early in the morning.  Since it was rainy season, the site was lush and verdant with vegetation.  The main site is quite large and filled with all kinds of passageways and walls are filled with carvings that wrap around and that tell stories from mythology.  The whole thing reminded me very much of Trajan's Column in Rome.  Yet, despite the dearth of people, there are still many areas of the site where you can find yourself alone.

    The next stop was to Banteay Srei which is a bit further away from Angkor Wat by about 20 miles.  However, it gives a great opportunity to see the Cambodian countryside.  The countryside is very beautiful and rustic but it is clear the people here are living in poverty.  When we reached Banteay Srei, it wasn't as crowded but it is also a smaller temple.  The whole area was quite muddy and doesn't take as long to explore but there are numerous nature paths one can take in addition to seeing the temple.

    The driver then took me to several other temples which, while all beautiful in their own ways, started to look the same.  Unfortunately, I'm not an expert on Khmer art and architecture so I knew very little about what I was looking at.

    However, two of the more famous ones I was taken to was Ta Prohm which is famous for the ENORMOUS tree roots that have literally grown over the human made buildings.  It was truly hard to believe that those trees are real. The last important site I was taken to was the Bayon which is famous for the hundreds of giant faces carved into the stone.  By this time, it was starting to rain quite heavily but luckily there was lots of shelter within the Bayon.

    The final two sites I was taken to was the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King.  They are significantly smaller and nowhere near as impressive as the large temples but the carvings adorning them are absolutely amazing. 

    After the day at Angkor Archaeological Park ended, I decided to have one last adventure for the day.  I headed to the market and bought myself a small bottle of snake wine.  It is literally a tiny bottle with a snake and ginseng root stuffed inside.  When I was back at the hostel, I decided to try the contents of the bottle.

    The snake liquor smelled like a very strong scotch.  It smelled somewhat good but it had a definite smell of formaldehyde.  Without much hesitation though, I poured the contents into a cup and drank it.  The liquor was EXTREMELY potent.  It was a like a mix of alcohol and formaldehyde which would explain the smell.  The liquor left a burning sensation in my throat for a good couple hours afterward but I amazingly didn't feel sick the next morning.

    Overall, this was probably the best day of my entire vacation so far.  Angkor Archaeological Park is truly a sight to behold and trying snake wine for the first time was certainly a unique experience in itself.

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